My first book review! So bear with me. I have been reading a LOT of books lately, and trying to pick one of the best to share with you. Whether you love reading or you only pick up a book when someone makes you, I think you should give this book a shot.

Quick Look

Counting By 7’s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan (2013)
Find on Goodreads or Amazon

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life…until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read. 

My Thoughts

Okay, my brother and I were in Denver at a historic downtown train station waiting for a friend’s train to arrive, and we found a really cool bookstore to explore while we waited. I can’t go into a bookstore and not come out with a book (I know, an expensive habit), but this is the beautiful book I came out with.

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The Good

From the first page the prose really captured me. It’s a very unique perspective–that of a 12-year-old who is smarter than nearly everyone around her (I first thought she was autistic), but she’s not cocky about it. Just very matter-of-fact. Her dry, scientific observations and the reactions that she gets from others will make you laugh sometimes.

But Counting by 7’s wasn’t just a well-written character exposition, it had a structured, engaging plot as well.

The Bad

Okay, so some reviewers will say this book has clichés in the plot (parents killed in an accident, someone wins thousands of dollars, etc.), and I say, sure, but life happens like that sometimes. Maybe not all to one set of people, but then a story wouldn’t be interesting if everything was perfectly realistic. Others say Willow isn’t relatable as a character, throwing facts at the reader left and right. Like, who thinks like that? Yeah, maybe not you, but there’s a lot of people in this world, and I’ll grant it to Willow that there are some kids who are like that. I mean, I’m no genius, but I do walk around thinking half-French and half-Chinese sometimes, and diagramming sentences in my head. And other people are into things like subwoofers and radiation and Greek mythology and all kinds of random stuff I have no clue about. So there…

The Best

Counting by 7’s made me laugh and cry. It dealt with universal themes–things like grief, friendship, loneliness, and a longing for home. Things I could identify with that drew me into the story. And like Maya Angelou said good writing should do, it slid right through my brain and went straight to the heart. I haven’t read a book like that (besides my own, lol!) for a long time.

Survey says…?

5 of 5 stars to a book that grabbed me and took over my world for a couple days. Check it out and tell me what you think! Keep reading, keep learning, keep exploring this wonderful world God has given us!

See you next week!

Hannah K

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